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Aberdare National Park

Aberdare National Park protects the mountain range of the same name. It is one of Kenya’s most unspoiled forest parks. Tree hotels are designed for guests to observe wildlife coming to the waterhole (or salt lick). Wildlife viewing from this elevated position is a remarkably rewarding way to see animals otherwise difficult to spot in the dense vegetation. Aberdare is best appreciated for its tangle of pristine forest and its inhabitants, not so much for the usual safari animals.

Aberdare National Park is located about 150km (93 miles) east of Nairobi, and is easily accessible from Nyeri and Naro Moru. The Park is 87 km (54 miles) from Naivasha. Most tourists travel by road with a tour operator.

Airport – There are two airstrips located near the Aberdare Headquarters at Nyeri and Mweiga.

Highlights and Attractions

Game animals easily seen in the park during game viewing include; African Elephant, black rhino, leopard, spotted hyena, olive baboon, black and white colobus monkey, sykes monkey, cape buffalo, warthog, common zebra (North Aberdare), bushbuck, reedbuck. Rare sightings include those of Giant Forest hog, bongo, golden cat, serval cat, African wild cat, African civet cat, blue duiker.

Pros & Cons

  • Good wildlife viewing throughout the year in beautiful forest habitat
  • Tree hotels offer an unusual wildlife-watching experience
  • A chance to see unusual nocturnal animals
  • Exciting animal encounters at ground level are possible from a wildlife hide
  • Great photo opportunities
  • Guided hiking is available
  • Tree hotels get busy, especially during high season
  • Usual one-night stays have a very packaged feel
  • Tree hotels have small, relatively basic, cabin-like rooms

Wildlife

All the Big Five are present. Buffalo and elephant are common, and there is a chance to see black rhino at one of the tree hotel waterholes at night. Lion and leopard tend to stay at higher altitudes in the park and are difficult to spot. Black-and-white colobus monkeys are a real treat, while bushbuck and waterbuck are particularly common.

Scenery

Aberdare is a scenically diverse area. And as with any mountain range there are different habit zones at different altitudes. The tree hotels are set in beautiful forest country. At higher altitudes are bamboo forests and Afro-alpine moorland set among steep ridges with beautiful waterfalls and river valleys.

Weather & Climate

Aberdare’s proximity to the equator means that temperatures don’t change much from month to month. It does, however, get colder the higher you go in altitude. Temperatures also plummet in the Dry season (June to September), especially at night and early in the morning. Rain is a constant companion in the park. Heavy falls occur year-round, though more frequently in the Wet season (October to May).

Getting There

Aberdare National Park is located 160km/100mi north of Nairobi and 20km/13mi southwest of Nanyuki. The drive from Nairobi takes about two and a half to three hours. There are daily scheduled flights to the Nanyuki airstrip. Getting to Nairobi is easy as this is one of the biggest transport hubs on the continent. International flights arrive in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi.

Airlines & Ticket Prices

Please check Skyscanner, or for multiple-destination flights check Expedia, to see which airlines can take you to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) and what tickets would cost.

Domestic Flights

Charter flights between parks are usually booked by tour operators as part of the tour package. From Nairobi, flights to the Aberdares leave from Wilson Airport (WIL), 6km/4mi south of the city. Scheduled flights to Nanyuki can be booked with the following domestic carriers:

Passport, Visa and Other Entry Requirements

Please check our Getting There – Kenya page to learn more about passport, visa and other entry requirements.

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